Custer Died for Your Sins

by Vine Deloria Jr.

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What does being "unread" and "ahistorical" mean in Custer Died for Your Sins?

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Vine Deloria, Jr. explores a number of common attitudes that white, European Americans continued to exhibit toward Native American people. These views were "unreal" in going against documented facts or logic. One was the idea of shared ancestry or descent, usually from a "princess" in the distant past. The author traces the detachment from reality back to the centuries-old error of the lost Italian Columbus who thought he landed in India.

Another problem that he identifies is the ahistorical aspect of commonly held perceptions. Such white attitudes appropriate Native cultures by using their symbols or attributes, disregarding specific features such as regional or tribal association. Furthermore, Deloria shows, Eurocentric history displaces or erases Native peoples by associating them with the past and assuming they have disappeared or are not making important contributions to American society.

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